Archive for June 2006

At the Cystic Fibrosis Fundraiser

June 27, 2006

This was last night at the M Street Bar, a great benefit that another Richards Group Intern, Mary LaDriere helped organize.

What if…

June 25, 2006

What if our society's massively growing population is making it more challenging to differentiate ourselves as individuals?  What if people are finding new and formerly trivial ways other than words to speak who they are?  What if a brand isn't just a relationship, but a solid vehicle of communication used to speak to our own selves and to others in this world?

I raise these questions because of the current planning work I'm doing in a certain industry, and because of a wonderfully influential professor who taught me the power of what it means to "change the rules."  So, I'm drawing on multiple sources of inspiration to try and do just that.  

Why change a brand so it can meet the standards of an industry, when we can change the entire industry to meet the standards our brand can set? 

Look at This

June 25, 2006

I know this is really random, but this car was parked next to mine and I just had to get a picture of this. Is finding a good tea really that widespread of a problem? I have to give this woman credit though for some serious creativity. I wonder what people say when they call her up– "Cindy, hi. I'm having a crisis. I'm in the tea isle of the grocery store and it's overwhelming. I don't know what to do. Can you help?"

After a Richards Group Stairwell

June 14, 2006

This, by the way, is what the commotion looks like after a Richards Group Stairwell gets over.  We had one yesterday to welcome a potential client. 

Not feeling so well

June 14, 2006

Well, Tuesday started off to be a great day- I felt a little under the weather, but being deep into my work and having the chance to go to lunch with some interns and recruiters at The Richards Group was a nice break that made me forget about not feeling so well. But tonight I just seemed to feel more sick by the hour after work.  Well, fortunately I could count on Tom Thumb to be open late. I cleaned out their pharmacy isle and figured I'd just get the rest of my grocery shopping done while I was there. I'm really getting into Lean Cuisines and Hot Pockets. For some reason, grocery shopping continues to be such a point of difference from what I'm used to. Maybe it's just that I'm so used to how things are laid out at my grocery store back home, or maybe it's the different brands offered here or the fact that the checkouts have no conveyor belts. Not sure.

One thing that definitely continues to drive me crazy is that there are these raised bumps in the road here that separate the lanes once you get close to an intersection, and I keep running over them and thinking I've given myself a flat tire. Fortunately, this hasn't been the case yet, although i will say that these really aren't welcoming to tourists or newcomers, as I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we don't know what lane to be in until we're close enough to read the street sign! And by this time, we're usually running over these things. Well, enough complaining for tonight. I ought to be talking about the awesome new client I just got assigned to, a home security system company, and how excited I am to be planning for them and working with everyone on our team. There's actually a couple of pretty involved projects going on simultaneously right now. So, I'll get to that soon, but for now, I'm off to bed in hopes that I feel better tomorrow morning.

Meeting Stan Richards

June 9, 2006

When I was growing up, my dad told me that I didn't have to be the most popular kid in school or the best student.  All that mattered was that I tried my very best, was honest, and had fun.  I was reminded of these principles during our intern orientation the other day with The Richards Group's founder, Stan Richards.  I went into the orientation having researched a fair amount about Mr. Richards (I'm a planner- go figure)… enough to get me really excited about hopping on a plane to a different part of the country to be, at least temporarily, part of this growing legend he has built.  But even before coming to this intern orientation, I had observed a lot about him.  For instance, I couldn't believe how involved he is in things here.  I mean- I saw and heard the man before lunch on my first day!  I was also surprised as to how involved he his with all the current clients and in new business.  I hear his name mentioned at least 10 times every day by the people in my pod who somehow work with him or in connection to him.  I have a lot of respect for this.  It makes sense though.  The Richards group is an independent agency- meaning it never has been and never will be for sale.  Nobody here needs to enhance the wealth of any stockholders.  All we have to do is our very best work.  Period.  This is Stan's philosophy.  I feel I can take the liberty to refer to him as Stan on here, he seems like the kind of man who would want it that way.  In fact, everyone seems to refer to him as Stan.  But anyways, back to my point: someone of his stature and wealth could easily say, "I've done enough," "I've made my contribution," or "I've put in my time."  But a person who would say such things would be placing a lot of value on an end product as opposed to a continuous process, or a "legend" as I called it earlier.  If Stan was just about the money, he could sit back behind a closed door and basically pay people to run the agency.  He could pay people to come up with lengthy guides of how to do our jobs the "Richards way" and pay people to brand the agency in a way that it isn't.  He could have had somebody else come talk to us and train us.  These things might not be uncommon in today's competitive advertising world.  But these things would just flat out go against his principles.  I don't want to give away exactly what he said, but it basically comes down to honesty, dedication, and being realistic.  I felt really privileged and respected sitting in the room hearing him talk.  I was flat out blown away by his humbleness and openness.  He told us we should always tell the truth in advertising, and he did just that about his philosophies and how and why he runs the agency the way he does.  I left the orientation feeling not only really proud to be where I was, but feeling really proud of my coworkers, even though I still have so many people to meet.  I must say that as a college student, its a really refreshing and motivating feeling.  But it makes sense- if we're all worrying about things we shouldn't be or trying to be competitive with each other, we're wasting time we could have been putting towards doing our best work, which, in turn, would get us further ultimately.  I have a lot more to say about Stan, and I'm sure I'll write about him many more times to come.  But for now, I'll leave it at this, and that I plan on going to say hello personally very soon, and to say a quick but sincere thank-you for building such an awesome culture.  As a planner, I wouldn't normally make a statement about anything without delving deep into the competition, but I think it's safe to say that this is one of the most welcoming, open, and intern-friendly advertising agency in the country.  

Thursday Night Happy Hour

June 9, 2006

Michael, Tiffani, Chelsea, and Slava at this week's Happy Hour. The margarita's were lacking, but the night ended great with the Dallas Mavericks winning 90-80.